The 10-year anniversary of Jodie Meeks’ 54-point performance vs. Tennessee was January 13, and Kyle Tucker has a great article out today about it that deserves some of your time. Through interviews with Meeks, Billy Gillispie, Patrick Patterson, Bruce Pearl, John Calipari, and others, Tucker compiled an oral history of that great night.
The quotes from Gillispie are particularly interesting. The story goes that the former Kentucky coach refused to hand out commemorative “Witness” shirts Nike sent to the team, but Gillisipe claims he never knew about them.
“Most things in Kentucky take on a life of their own, and that did too. I never heard about any T-shirts being sent until after I was fired when people were trying to be as mean to me as they could. The people who researched that deal said Nike did send some T-shirts that I was unaware of — and the reason I was unaware of them was that they made a mistake on the T-shirt, so our equipment manager just kept them in the box and never said anything to me. I think that’s what happened, but I really have no idea. I don’t think I would be the kind that would keep anybody from wearing a T-shirt after scoring 54.”
Patrick Patterson isn’t buying it.
“A hundred percent, it wouldn’t surprise me if he tried to keep something away from us. Not at all. That’s just the way he was. I can 100 percent see him trying to keep those shirts away from us, especially Jodie, after his accomplishment.”
When Calipari took over as coach in April 2009, one of his first acts was handing the shirts out:
Do yourself a favor and head on over to The Athletic to read more about Jodie’s big night and what could have been had he stayed at Kentucky for another year. Now that’s a fun thought.